Goodness. Somedays it is hard to see it. Somedays are a struggle and it is harder to see the goodness in our lives. I ebb and flow with reminding myself that I need to focus on the good that is all around me. Usually when I have a moment of struggle and frustration I go down on my knees and am reminded of all that I have, all the goodness that surrounds me each and every day. Those moments of gratitude helps me to see what I am forgetting. Those moments remind us of the bigger picture.
Recently, I came across this excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)’s Facebook page:
“The other day, the great author and sociologist Brené Brown (my sweet friend!) was asked, “What do you know for sure?”
She replied: “Fear is dangerous. But people are good.”
The evidence that people are good can be found all around us.
The evidence that fear is dangerous can also be found all around us — particularly because of the terrible things that fear makes people do (both to themselves and to each other.)
We all live amidst fear and goodness — and their consequences.
We are all composed of both fear and goodness.
You have a choice. Every moment of the day, you have choices.
You can follow your goodness, not your fear.
You can feed your goodness, not your fear.
You can support and encourage the goodness of others, rather than preying upon their fears or adding to their fears.
To choose goodness over fear is the single most life-affirming path a human being can ever possibly take.”
It was a good reminder for me. There is goodness in watching my niece do things for the first time. There is goodness in my day-to-day world. My marriage, my job, my family, friends, and home. Lots of good is happening around me. We all have a choice to decide to see the goodness or not. I choose to see the goodness. I choose to be happy. I choose goodness, not fear. That does not mean that I do not have fear. I do fear, but if I can focus on the good, it means I am seeing the light, not the darkness.
I am sure each and every one of you have had a moment where you were terrified. You have that “I am going to shit my pants” nervous feeling. Somehow whatever scared you happened, the moment passed, and you went on with your life. Yet, you can remember that terrifying moment. You will never forget it. All the details might begin to fade, but the crucial time stays in your memory forever.
“Stress builds when we are waiting for something to happen. ‘Our anticipation is so much worse than doing the thing you’re afraid of,’ she observes. Instead of procrastinating so much that you lose sleep, take apart the situation, think it over logically and get it over with as soon as possible. ‘You are going to survive this,’ Williams says. Stress can be a great thing, she says, because it signals that you are doing something challenging.”
My guess is that a large part of the time when we have a moment that we are terrified, it is the anticipation that makes us freaked out. Once we get through the heat of the moment, and we look back and say “that was not as bad as a I thought it would be.” You might even go back and decide to do it all over again, no longer afraid. Anticipation allows us to dream, ponder, and potentially agonize over what may, could, should happen so that when the moment actually happens we have processed all the woulda, shoulda, coulda responses. It makes us feel safer. Rather than go into a terrifying moment blind, anticipation makes us feel like we are slightly more prepared.
Is it all a waste of time? Are we more prepared? I think it is good to have the oh shit moments once in a while. It keeps us on our toes, and leaves us feeling more alive. What do you think?
Recently I finished reading the book: “Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave” by Patty Chang Anker. It was a good book and reminder of how little we take risks, and how often we stay trapped by our fears. It made me think about what I am holding inside that I need to let go, release, and no longer have as part of my life.
The author talks about her fears, as basic as riding a bike, to swimming in the ocean, and going surfing. Whatever the fear might be, Anker tries to look fear in the face and bravely take a stand. She does it for herself, she does it for others, and she does it so that she can raise her kids without inheriting her fears. Seems simple right? Yes and no. I love this idea she shared:
“Inhale what you need, exhale what you don’t. I teach my yoga students all the time. The lesson is both literal and figurative. We take in life-giving air and let go of toxic waste every moment we’re alive. I’m finally applying this in daily decisions, keeping what nourishes and releasing the rest. Taking responsibility for what I can. Surrendering the things I can’t. Living with palms open.” Page 51
Letting go of toxic moments can change our life. I love the thought to keep what nourishes and release the rest. If we have the courage to take a stand and say what is on our mind, we can keep ourselves intact. It is not easy, but it is imperative to ensure that we keep the integrity of who we are each and every day. I am in, are you?